Walking or biking in Charleston can be a very pleasant experience. The weather is normally mild, and there are some very comfortable places to walk within the city. However, sometimes someone else’s carelessness can upend your good time and the rest of your life all at once. Pedestrian accidents can be life-changing, and if it happens to you, there will be a specific procedure you need to follow in order to recover.
Accident Statistics in South Carolina
The most recent data available for South Carolina’s accident figures is not ideal. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that according to data released in 2012, South Carolina had the fourth worst pedestrian fatality rate in the nation, with percentages noticeably above the national average (1.94 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to 1.38 per 100,000). One wonders why the rate continues to remain so uncomfortably high – the answer, if one examines state data, is very often distracted driving. Things like disregarding signals, driving too fast (or too fast for the weather conditions at the time) and being overly fatigued make up the lion’s share of reasons drivers gave for crashing.
Time and place also make a difference. According to state data, most crashes in recent years have occurred on the state’s secondary roads, not on major freeways. Also, more than 60% of fatal crashes occurred between the hours of 3pm and 3am. The reason these statistics are important is because if you have an accident at that time or place, police and other accident personnel are more accustomed to the likelihood of having to give evidence or statements to aid in a lawsuit.
Pedestrian & Driver Liability
If you are hit by a car, as a pedestrian you are far more likely to suffer severe injury than those in car, as one might expect. However, pedestrians do have responsibilities to ensure that they do not contribute to accidents in their own right. In South Carolina, pedestrians are required to walk in the right half of crosswalks where available, and yield to motorists where no crosswalks exist. Motorists must observe all signs and traffic laws.
If someone breaks a law, that is strong evidence that they may be liable for negligence, though it is not necessary for someone to break the law for a plaintiff to recover. Negligence is the injury to a person due to the wanton or reckless conduct of another, and it has four parts that must be proven. The defendant must owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, as motorists do to pedestrians and vice-versa. That duty must have been breached. The breach must have been the direct cause of the harm done to the plaintiff, and the harm must be significant – that is, it must substantially affect your life, rather than being a minor inconvenience. If you sustain physical injuries after being hit by a car, you will usually be able to show significant harm.
Contact An Auto Accident Attorney
Pedestrians have a right to be safe on the road, just as much as motorists. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, we may be able to help you get what you are owed. The North Charleston auto accident attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse have years of experience in this type of matter, and we are ready, willing and able to put our knowledge to work for you. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.